Cocoa Optimizes Soil Fertility
Compost Increases Soil Organic Matter
- The USDA/NRCS recommends that sound, long-term soil organic matter management practices include adding plant residues (fast decomposing) and high-quality organic matter (slow decomposing) materials, like Cocoa Compost, which are biologically and chemically diverse to improve and maintain soil quality.
- The Ohio State University Extension estimate that every 1% of soil organic matter contains over $650/acre worth of nutrients (N, P, K, S) available for crop production.
Related Field Studies found that incorporating compost over a 2-year period positively affected the structure, porosity, water holding capacity, compression strength, nutrient content, pH and organic matter content of the soil, which resulted in improved plant growth, crop yield and quality for the crops being studied.
Compost Increases Water Holding Capacity & Infiltration Rates
- For each 1% of soil organic matter that Cocoa adds, the soil water storage capacity will increase by up to 20,000 gallons per acre foot / rain event (equivalent to a 1″ rainfall).
- Cocoa helps aggregate and flocculate soil particles into little peds that improve structure and porosity. This means better aeration, infiltration, root growth, water storage, and biological activity in the soil. (See video below from 4 minute mark to 10 minute mark)
- Increasing water holding capacity and soil aggregates will help retain nutrients while reducing erosion and sedimentation losses, thus protecting the watershed.
Compost Increases Nutrient Cycling
- Cocoa contains billions of microorganisms that accelerate the conversion of crop residues into plant-available forms of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and other key nutrients.
- A tilled soil with 2% SOM (2,000 lbs of N/acre) and low biological activity may release 1% N or 20 lbs of N/acre per year.
- A tilled soil with 2% SOM (2,000 lbs of N/acre) and higher biological activity due to Cocoa microorganisms may release 2 – 3% N or 40 – 60 lbs of N/acre per year.
- Cocoa increases the production of plant and microscopic animal biomass which lock up nutrients that might otherwise leach into the water table. These aggregated nutrients become next year’s reservoir of aggregates and soil organic matter.
- Under continuous corn (CC) production, corn residues introduce a host of physical, chemical, and biological effects that negatively influence corn yields by as much as 20 to 30 bushels per acre. Cocoa contains large concentrations of actinomycete bacteria and fungal species that help reduce the continuous corn yield penalty (CCYP) by accelerating the decomposition of organic residues without harming crops.
Related Field Studies determined that compost amended soils exhibited higher potential denitrification rates, greater denitrification efficiency, higher organic matter, and greater microbial activity while reducing harmful nitrate leaching by 5 times compared to the conventionally farmed soils.
Compost Increases Crop Yields
Hundreds of Field Studies consistently demonstrate how multiple compost applications increase soil organic matter, soil water holding capacity, microbial activity, nutrient cycling and plant growth. As soil conditions improve, soil disease pressure lessens, crop yields increase by 10-20% while eliminating yield differences between conventional and no-till systems and lowering chemical fertilizer and fungicide inputs compared to chemical fertilizer only treatments. Simply put, soils high in organic matter outperform soils with low organic matter.